The UDD leadership held a press conference after General Boonlert announced the end of the Pitak Siam rally shortly after 5pm on Saturday. The leadership urged Thai people to stand united behind Thailand’s democratically elected government and push forward with amending the constitution, achieving justice for the victims of 2010, and granting amnesty to political prisoners of all stripes.
While Pitak Siam had originally called for an unprecedented 1 million-strong rally, today’s estimated turn out was a modest 20,000 protesters. Tida pointed to the low figure as proof that the Thai people do not support the extreme right-wing movement and its stated mission of ousting the current Pheu Thai government.
The government was elected by 35 million votes, yet Pitak Siam think that they can simply oust it? Despite all their money and connections, they clearly do not have the support of the people.
Nonetheless, the UDD urged caution before celebrating the end of the rally.
Just because the rally is officially over does not mean that the battle has ended. Let us not underestimate the anti-democratic forces in this country.
Tida urged those sympathetic to Pitak Siam to desist in the calls for a coup, and instead address their grievances within the democratic system.
If you have concerns about corruption or anti-monarchist sentiments, you should go through the proper channels to raise them. That’s what the democratic system is for.
Most importantly, the UDD leaders urged the Thai people to use the aftermath of the rally as an opportunity to unite and move the country forward. They stressed that the government must issue a declaration granting the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction over the violence in April-May 2010, in order to bring justice for the victims and their families.
They also said that the government must have a Constitution by the people, for the people, that would strengthen democracy in Thailand rather than undermine the power of elected officials. Furthermore, UDD leaders urged the government to declare amnesty for all political prisoners in Thailand, no matter what “colour”, with the exception of political leaders. These acts will enable Thailand to move forward and develop as a country.
Finally, UDD leaders expressed their gratitude towards Thai people for supporting democracy and towards Red Shirts in particular, who showed discipline and stood by their principle in ignoring provocations by Pitak Siam.
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